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Final day of Royal Ascot belongs to Frankie Dettori with three wins, a title

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
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Palace Pier (silver colors) gives Frankie Dettori his third win of the day at Royal Ascot, taking Saturday's Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes. Photo courtesy of Ascot Racecourse
Palace Pier (silver colors) gives Frankie Dettori his third win of the day at Royal Ascot, taking Saturday's Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes. Photo courtesy of Ascot Racecourse

June 20, 2020 The final day of Royal Ascot 2020 was Frankie Dettori day, as the enthusiastic Italian rode three winners, including two of the three Group 1 victors and, after 30 years, completed a sweep of the top-level events at the Royal meeting.

Dettori also booted home the 11th Royal Ascot winner for trainer Wesley Ward, an American pioneer at Royal Ascot, in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

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For the meeting, Dettori led all riders with six wins, four seconds and two thirds. Jim Crowley was second with six wins, one win and two thirds. John Gosden captured the training title with a mark of 6-1-2. Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum had six winners with Coolmore second, bagging four.

Dettori often is on the best horses at big race meetings but none of his three winners on Saturday was a favorite.

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The Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes for 3-year-olds devolved in the final furlong to a three-horse, all-out sprint with Dettori coaxing enough effort from Palace Pier in the closing yards to win by 1 length.

The favorite, Pinatubo, racing between rivals, was second and the long-time leader, Wichita, was another head back in third.

The first three represented some of the world's most powerful racing forces: Sheik Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Godolphin and the Irish-based Coolmore "lads."

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Palace Pier, a son of Kingman, was having his first go in a pattern race while Wichita and Pinatubo were second and third, respectively, in the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas in their previous start. But Palace Pier entered with a 3-for-3 record and remains undefeated and now at the top level.

The St James's Palace was Dettori's sixth win of the meeting and 73rd overall at Royal Ascot, the latter number equaling the mark posted by Pat Eddery.

"I sat next to Pat for 15 years. He was one of my heroes, I used to nickname him 'God' and to equal him gives me great satisfaction, God bless him," Dettori said. "It is been an unbelievable day and an unbelievable Royal Ascot. To come out of here with six wins is not easy."

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Although Palace Pier was stepping up in class, winning trainer Gosden said he was confident the colt fit against his rivals.

"It is no fluke," Gosden said. "He is a really talented horse and he will go for the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, which his father Kingman won."

Dettori had a bit of work to do to get Alpine Star home first in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes for 3-year-old fillies but, at the end, was a clear winner. The Coronation was the only one of Royal Ascot's Group 1 races he had not won previously, so he now has run the table for those.

"It has taken 30 years to win all the Group 1's, but I can say that I have really conquered Royal Ascot now," Dettori said. "Royal Ascot means a lot to me -- the Coronation, I have been riding here for 30 years, but for some reason I have never managed to get on the right horse."

At the top of the stretch, Alpine Star's rail-skimming trip had her behind a rival and amid traffic. Dettori had to search out a path, looking outside and finally settling to duck back inside with 2 furlongs to go.

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After that, it was smooth sailing and the Sea the Moon filly, out of the Rahy mare Alpha Lupi, won by 4 1/2 lengths.

Sharing, last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and another of this year's American contingent, was best of the rest, finishing 1 3/4 lengths better than the favorite, Quadrilateral.

Alpine Star, trained by Jessica Harrington for the Niarchos family, had been away from the races since she won the Grade II Debutante Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland last Aug. 23. The half-sister to 2018 Coronation winner Alpha Centauri now has three wins from four career starts.

Harrington, watching from Ireland because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions, said there will be discussions about the Investec Oaks but questions about distance.

And Dettori agreed, saying: "She will definitely get the mile and a quarter, she did all her best work at the end. The mile and a half? I really don't know."

The final Group 1 of the Royal meeting, the 6-furlongs Diamond Jubilee, went to Hello Youmzain, who led early, was headed by Dettori aboard the favorite, Sceptical, then came back with a second effort to win by a head. Dream of Dreams also found late speed to nip Sceptical for second with Ryan Moore riding.

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Hello Youmzain, a 4-year-old, French-bred, gave his sire, Kodiac, a remarkable third win of the day and jockey Kevin Stott his first Royal Ascot score and first Group 1 winner. Trained by Kevin Ryan, Hello Youmzain picked up his fifth win from nine starts and second in a Group 1. It was his first start since last October.

The trainer's son, Adam Ryan, said, "Hello Youmzain has done it the hard way. He jumped well and Kevin [Stott] did the right thing, let him find his stride and where he was happy, and when it came to the business end, he battled on hard. He is a very game, very tough horse, and especially to do that on his first run of the season was very impressive."

"We will see how he comes back from this, but he's a Group One sprinter and he will be tackling all of them. The July Cup is an obvious choice for his next run," Adam Ryan added.

The race was a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 7 at Keeneland.

In the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Dettori had to cope with the No. 1 stall in a field of 18 as he took Campanelle to the start for Ward and owner Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables.

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The Irish-bred Kodiac filly had no issue, racing prominently on the far side of the field and holding on gamely through the final furlong to win by 3/4 length over Sacred. The Coolmore hope, More Beautiful, was one of the day's biggest disappointments, going to the post as the even-money favorite but finishing a dull ninth.

Campanelle came to Royal Ascot as the winner of her only previous start, that on May 31 at Gulfstream Park.

The win was Ward's fourth in the Queen Mary and 11th overall at Royal Ascot, dating back to 2009, when American runners were given little chance against the best of Europe and the UK. He has specialized in sending 2-year-olds, often speedy ones, and excelled with 2016 Queen Mary winner Lady Aurelia, who returned in 2017 to capture the Group 1 King's Stand.

Speaking from Keeneland, Ward said: "We are going crazy here! I am in the stable yard with all my boys."

He said Campanelle likely is headed for the Prix Morny.

The plungers were celebrating at the finish of the Group 2 Coventry Stakes for 2-year-olds as Nando Parrado, a comprehensively defeated fifth in his only previous start, rolled home first at odds of 150-1. Second-favorite Qaader was second and the favorite, Admiral Nelson, another Coolmore fancy, strolled home eighth.

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Adam Kirby rode Nando Parrado boldly, staying right at the front between several rivals, then kept finding more through the final furlong, another score for Kodiac.

In the rest of the action on the final day of Royal Ascot 2020:

The Kevin Stott-Kevin Ryan team came back one race after their Diamond Jubilee triumph to win the 6-furlongs Wokingham Stakes as Hey Jonesy just did hold on by a whisker over Summerghand.

Chief of Chiefs started the day winning the Silver Wokingham Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths for jockey William Buick and trainer Charlie Fellowes.

And even-money favorite Who Dares rang down the curtain with a neck victory over The Grand Visr after 2 miles, 5 1/2 furlongs of the Queen Alexandra Stakes.

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